Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles

MANILA – Locally-made products will be prioritized in the government’s procurement to help local industries severely affected by the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Saturday night.

Nograles gave this assurance noting that the recently-signed “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” or “Bayanihan 2” includes procurement provisions that give preference to locally-made products, including construction materials for government infrastructure projects.

“Our call is buy local, buy Filipino — suportahan natin ang sariling atin (support our own),” he said over a Facebook live session.

He emphasized the importance of supporting Filipino businesses, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help save jobs and revive the economy.

“At this point we are talking about how to get our economy back on its feet; one of the best ways is to buy Filipino,” he added.

Nograles, meanwhile, advised the public to report manufacturers taking advantage of the “buy local” campaign by mislabeling their products and passing them off as Philippine-made to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“DTI knows what it has to do. It is unfortunate that there are those who do this, pero di dapat sila makalusot. Bawal ang mislabeling (but they shouldn’t be allowed to do this. Mislabeling is not allowed), there are laws against that,” he said.

He welcomed suggestions to properly identify and label Philippine-made products, including agricultural produce, noting that there have been discussions in the government’s Zero Hunger Task Force to label produce so that buyers are informed what regions they come from.

“When it comes to agricultural products, fresh produce, there has to be a way for us to know which region it is from, paraan na rin yan para ipagmalaki ng mga rehiyon ang mga produkto nila (it’s also a way for the regions to take pride in their products),” he said.

Nograles earlier urged the public to patronize local food and other products when going to the markets and groceries.

Not only would they support local farmers and businesses, he said they are also less expensive and would help consumers save money.

The Department of Trade and Industry is also urging institutions to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) gears and other medical items from local manufacturers.

Local manufacturers are now able to produce 60 million face masks and 3.2 million pieces of medical-grade coveralls, 6,050 pieces of ventilators, and 60,000 pieces of infrared thermometers per month.

Earlier, the DTI launched the Buy Local, Go Lokal campaign to promote patronizing Filipino products and services.

On Friday, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Bayanihan 2 which provides for a PHP165.5-billion fund to finance the country’s response and recovery interventions intended to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bayanihan 2 is the second installment of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act (Bayanihan 1), which gave Duterte emergency powers to address the Covid-19 crisis in the country. (PNA)